Researchers at Medicine Hat College (MHC) are conducting research aimed at helping small business owners in Hanna, Alberta discover more opportunities for success.
“We want to help small businesses figure out their barriers to growth,” said Miranda Davies, a business instructor at MHC and lead researcher on the project. “Entrepreneurship is a main component in creating new jobs and we want to know how small businesses can be assisted in succeeding.”
Business retention and expansion is a community-based economic development strategy with a focus on “taking care of, nurturing and supporting” businesses already existing in the community.
A structured business survey is utilized as a means of beginning a dialogue with local businesses with the intent of identifying issues, concerns and potential opportunities and taking action where appropriate.
“It’s an ongoing effort in the community with the purpose of identifying opportunities and actions to assist local businesses in expansion, the retention and creation of jobs and the diversification of the local economic base, as well as the implementation of defined actions to improve the local business climate,” said Davies.
Davies is working with lead project manager Jon Sookocheff to recruit 40 small businesses to fill out the survey. The survey is targeted at independently owned and operated small businesses located in Hanna.
Medicine Hat College is one of three colleges working with Mount Royal University (MRU) on the project. Lakeland College and Portage College are also taking part in the research. Once community surveys are completed in Hanna, they will be sent to MRU for statistical analysis.
The MHC research team has already surveyed Medicine Hat, Bow Island and Brooks.
Once the results for Hanna are compiled, business owners who have completed the survey are invited to attend an information session to learn the results. The research team also plans to host at training sessions for small business owners who have completed the survey.
“Our hope is that we can align the small businesses with community services, so they can together help build a more thriving economy,” Davies said.
To participate, business owners are asked to contact Miranda Davies at (403) 504-3589 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete and results are expected to be returned in April. Funding for the survey has been provided by Alberta Rural Development Network.
The survey will be mailed to business owners in Hanna, the research team will be doing in-person survey drop-offs, and the survey can be completed online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GPP6T8V.
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